(ThePatriotWire)- According to a recent study, child abuse surged in the Philippines during the COVID pandemic.
Save the Children and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a study in 2021 on the “high prevalence of physical, psychological, sexual, and online violence” committed against children in the Philippines.
While that trend appears to have worsened over the last decade, it took an alarming turn during the pandemic.
UNICEF noted that since the age of consent in the Philippines is only 12, the country has become the hub of the production of child sexual abuse materials in the world, leaving 80 percent of Filipino children vulnerable to online abuse, often facilitated by their own parents.
In addition to the age of consent being one of the lowest in the world, the country also lacks the “perceived conflict between sexual exploitation and significant social norms.”
In a report on Tuesday, the BBC cited the UNICEF study and offered startling details of how the situation in the Philippines exploded into a crisis during the COVID pandemic.
According to a report from the BBC, during the pandemic lockdowns, Filipino children were trapped indoors with adults that were already inclined to sexually abuse them. And now, with the time and opportunity provided by the lockdowns, they did. Then they sold videos of the abuse online. And those adults were often the parents.
The director of a home for abused children in Manila told the BBC that during the 17 years she has been a counselor, child sexual exploitation has grown into a billion-dollar industry with the Philippines as the veritable capital of worldwide production.
Fedalyn Marie Baldo told the BBC that poverty, coupled with high-speed Internet access “have kept it going.”
And when the pandemic hit, vulnerable children were trapped at home with cash-strapped parents desperate to make money.
UNICEF estimates that around one in five Filipino children is now at risk of exploitation.